war on agriculture

Is war being waged against farmers around the world in the name of being environmentally friendly?

March, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Proposed New Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) regulations require small farms to disclose climate-related information if they wish to do business with public companies. The proposed rule, called “Enhancing and Standardizing Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors,” would allow registrants to identify specific climate-related risks that are reasonably likely to have a material impact on their business, results of operations, or financials. Request to share “Information”. condition. “

Simply put, farmers and ranchers must allocate significant resources and significant time to tracking environmental data.

SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in a statement: “We are pleased to support today’s proposal because, if adopted, it will provide investors with consistent, comparable, decision-making tools for making investment decisions. It provides useful information,” he said. “With this level of demand for consistent and comparable information that can affect financial performance, I believe the SEC has a role to play. It is driven by the needs of investors and issuers.”

Critics argue that the recommendation would potentially discourage farmers from working with public companies because these organizations do not have the compliance resources and departments of large corporations.

More than 100 Republican and Democratic congressmen sent the letter (pdf) to Gensler, accusing the SEC of “going beyond its bounds” and that the proposed rule would have “a devastating effect on our farmers.”

Epoch Times photo
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler speaks during a meeting at the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, Oct. 3, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“Not only does this proposal add an enormous amount of bureaucracy and bureaucracy that would be very burdensome, if not impossible, for many public companies to fully comply with, but Congress expressly granted the SEC It would go far beyond the mandate given to us,” the lawmaker said. .

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) also submitted a letter (pdf), rejecting the SEC’s efforts.

“Washington, D.C. bureaucrats, especially unelected SEC staff, have no jurisdiction over environmental policy, and those who have never set foot on a farm are unaware of how farmers manage their land. “The time and energy expended in complying with this new regulation will distract American farmers from their primary goal of producing our nation’s food, fuel, and fiber.” I will put it away.”

Ultimately, lawmakers and groups are calling for the SEC to completely repeal the proposed rule.

Experts argue that the SEC may not be able to pass the rule. This is because courts have not previously allowed government agencies to compel disclosure of sensitive personal information. However, the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance concluded that the proposal falls within the SEC’s mandate.

“Thus, instead, like a cuckoo putting its eggs in another nest, critics have mischaracterized the proposal and invented their own fictitious rules that were not actually proposed to attack premise 2. , argues that the Commission has no authority over fictitious new rules. Rules,” I have written John C. Coates, professor of law and economics at Harvard Law School, said:

In any event, this may not be the last resort the U.S. government has adopted to advance its ESG cause, says Irina Tsukerman, a geopolitical analyst at media and strategic advisory firm Scaraverizing. increase.

“ESG standards have impacted U.S. agriculture over the last few years,” she told The Epoch Times. I’m sorry.”

According to Tukerman, this kind of policy destroys farmers economically and legally because they need to maintain environmentally friendly policies, and “is likely to push them out of business.”

“The ESG movement in the agricultural sector disproportionately favors big farms, stifles competition and creates an agricultural monopoly of ‘wake-up’ companies, which leads to less choice for consumers,” she added. I was.

The SEC plans to make a final decision in early 2023.

But imposing socially responsible guidelines on the agricultural sector is not just happening in the United States. It’s happening all over the world.

A global war on agriculture?

A growing number of countries around the world are adopting a green agenda for farmers.

For example, in his Independence Day speech in August, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed It promotes organic and natural farming methods and calls the adoption of pesticide-free farming methods a national “obligation”.

“Today, natural farming is the way to Atman Nirvata. Natural farming, pesticide-free farming makes our country stronger. Natural farming can lower fertilizer costs. ‘ said Modi.

In September, the European Commission approved Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) aimed at strengthening green agriculture, meeting green and biodiversity goals, and strengthening plant protein initiatives. His latest CAP target is set for 2023-2027, with several countries signing the latest packages, including Denmark, France, Portugal and Spain.

“Farmers face a challenging environment, characterized not only by the recent summer drought, but also by the sharp rise in production costs due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. needs to have a clear legal and financial framework for the future,” says Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski. “The new CAP will help support stable agricultural livelihoods and long-term food security by fostering a smart, competitive, resilient and diversified agricultural sector.”

Since 2016, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD) has advocated a broader range of green agriculture policies in Africa, arguing that the African continent has “rich potential” and only needs funding to advance organic farming. has promoted implementation.

“Given the current situation, we strongly encourage concerted efforts to improve the data collected on both the domestic and export value of organic products so that we can create a better business case for organic farming in Africa. advocate,” wrote UNCTD. a technical paper.

Last year, the Canadian government announced More than $500 million in new investment to scale up the domestic agricultural industry’s campaign for sustainability and climate change solutions. Some of these efforts include providing farmers with the tools, resources, support and knowledge to increase organic farming production.

“As consumer interest in organic food continues to grow, we need to ensure that farmers have the knowledge and skills to meet that increased demand,” said Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibault. says. “This investment will help grow Canada’s organic farming sector and meet market demand by providing support to farmers who want to incorporate more organic farming techniques into their businesses.”

Canada’s organic farming sector is currently estimated to be worth $8 billion, the sixth largest market in the world.

Andrew Moran


Andrew Moran has been writing about business, economics and finance for over a decade. He is the author of “The War on Cash”.